Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series Number: 2
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Where I received the book: I received a review copy of this book from Harper Collins.
Summary: Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
my an ember in the ashes review can be found here.
a torch against the night is easily one of the best books i’ve read this year. it’s so beautifully written and such a step up from an ember in the ashes (which i liked, but i felt was a disappointment compared to my expectations/the hype). a torch against the night went above and beyond any and all expectations i had.
one of the issues i had with an ember in the ashes was that i didn’t like many of the characters. the only one i really liked was helene, and a little bit of keenan. in a torch against the night, however, i found i really enjoyed elias and laia’s characters a whole lot more. i found them more relatable and developed than the previous book. helene was still a favourite of mine, although i didn’t like her as much (probably due to her storyline, and what she was trying to achieve). i found that keenan was really out of character a lot more during this book. he was quite interesting in an ember in the ashes, however in a torch against the night he was all moody and jealous of elias. it made him unlikable. i can see why he was written like this, but i felt it didn’t flow as easily from an ember in the ashes into a torch against the night.
this book is written in first person, much like an ember in the ashes does. except, in this book there’s an added pov for helene. this ended up getting quite confusing for me because of the extra person to keep up with. plus, both elias and laia were together for majority of the book, meaning it was harder to tell their chapters apart. i often stop reading part way through a chapter, and it got difficult when i went to pick it back up and couldn’t remember whose chapter i was in. mostly it was a little disorientating, and probably my own fault rather than anything to do with the actual book.
one thing i absolutely love about a torch against the night is the plot twists. i wasn’t expecting any of them, and it really kept me on edge wondering what was going to happen next. i also really like how this book was very intense right up until the last page. so many books finish 50 – 100 pages from the ending and use those last pages to wrap everything up, where i usually get bored. i’m very happy that this didn’t happen with a torch against the night.
an ember in the ashes was a very violent book in terms of the way laia was treated. i found that this book was a whole lot less violent for the most part, but still had some brutal scenes.
having finished the book, the only thing that i keep thinking about is the soul catcher storyline. obviously it’ll become more important throughout the series, but for now it really just felt random and unrelated to the story.
i rated this book five stars and it is easily one of the best books i’ve read this year.